Ironic Jane

     In the 1973 film version of The Doll's House directed by Josephy Losey, based on Henrik Ibsen's play by the same name, Jane Fonda plays the lead role of Nora Torvald. This is very ironic since the character of Nora is very childlike and plays the stereotypical woman. This is a woman who is controlled by her emotions and not her reason, one who appears almost immature and quite impractical at times. It is ironic since this is the period of Jane Fonda's life where she was very "gung-ho" over women's lib and equal rights for women. Nevertheless, Jane played the part well. While I did not care for the character of Nora, I did feel that Jane did the best she could with the role.

     Since Nora is child-like in her dependence on Torvald (David Warner), Jane imitates many childish actions in her role. Near the beginning, when Torvald refuses to give her any extra money, she begins to mope around and pout. She tucks down her chin and sits down in a chair. Remember the last time you saw a child not get his way. Did he or she not do similar actions to this?

     Another time, when Jane's Nora is talking to Christine (Delphine Seyrig) about how clever she, Nora, was with saving money for the debt, she proudly sticks out her chest and puts her hands on her hips. Her voice is also in a different tone as if to bring attention to the importance of what she is saying. This reminded me very much of a child in its self-absorbent pride.

     Jane also takes very unlady-like, juvenile positions in chairs and when she sits on beds. She sits in chairs with her hips on the edge of the seat and slouches down. When she talks to someone in her bedroom she lies on the bed and rolls over and talks in a manner resembling a child daydreaming out loud.

     Moreover, Jane runs and jumps around the house like an easily excited child. She likewise sings around the house and annoys Torvald much the way a small child would. When she plays with the children, one could not judge by their behaviors who is the adult and who are the children.

     When Jane asks Torvald to get the mail, and he refuses, she ducks her head and shifts her feet and then looks up at him with "puppy dog" eyes until he bends to her will.

     The part of Jane Fonda's acting that I did not like came when Nora has the sudden "enlightenment." I felt that Jane overplayed this part. I mean, how could someone go from jumping and frolicking around the house to being stone serious? I feel that Jane could have downplayed this last scene a bit. But since she was a die-hard feminist, she probably felt this last scene had to make a statement for women's independence, and I feel this made her try to hard. Overall, while not liking the character of Nora, I did feel that Jane Fonda did a great job of portraying her and her childish ways (except for the last scene).

Shawn Rainey

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